Thursday, 29 August 2013

August Wishlist - There's no place like Home

This week I discovered the treasure trove that is Zara Home, In all seriousness how have I missed this until now? I decided to put together a wishlist of home accessories from there and other shops that make adorable bits and bobs to make my room cosy.

For as long as I can remember I've always wanted a wardrobe full of padded hangers, I think for some reason it just screams luxury to me, no idea why and they are probably actually awkward as hell to keep clothes on without them all sliding off to the bottom of the wardrobe. Nevertheless I'm always going to dream of the perfect walk in wardrobe full of beautiful clothes on beautiful hangers, until then I have a few pieces around my room that are just far too pretty to be hidden away so I might have to get this little set from Zara just for those.

I also really love this tealight holder/lantern, It's so pretty and feminine and would look so pretty anywhere in my room, I'm pretty disappointed that I can't burn candles in my new room but I have plans to smuggle them all to Jon's and he's just going to have to deal with having his man space invaded with golden butterfly lanterns.

Alongside my candle obsession I also have a bit if an addiction to buying mugs and the Disney shop have such a cute collection, I'm loving this adorable Minnie Mouse mug which is huge so it would be great for either making crazy hot chocolates with whipped cream for winter or adding to my collection of mugs that I like to keep my brushes in. I would probably go more for the crazy hot chocolates, as much as I love my brushes I love chocolate more.

As I have quite a few books, I've been thinking about getting some new bookends to stop them all from falling off the shelf (I'm currently having to use other books and a teddy and it just doesn't work.) I love this red and white animal and heart print set from Debenhams, they would just add a little something to my bookshelf and they do remind me of Christmas which is something I can't wait for now the cold weather has started.

Zara have also got these great glass bottles that would look pretty on any dressing table,I don't even know what your supposed to keep in them but they just look great for decoration. I also love the sleeping masks they do, I've never had one but as my room faces onto dark gardens and Jon's seems to have a million and one streetlights pointing directly at it, I'm thinking it might be a good idea to get one and why not have a leopard print one?

I also found this cute teacup candle from Bomb Cosmetics, I was given the tinned version of the Chocolate Orange candle as a gift and It is amazing! Sadly it's all burned down so of course I need a new one and the Mad Hatters Tea cup version is so cute, I don't really know if I'd be able to bring myself to burn it.

Are there any accessories you'd love for your home this month?

Monday, 19 August 2013

Little treats: Banana Choc chip Nut Loaf

Something I like to do of an evening is cook and sometimes I like to bake, not that often (probably not as often as Jon would like) but when I do one of my favourites is this banana loaf. I used to make a plain banana cake but one day I decided to jazz it up a little with dark chocolate chips and walnuts and I've never looked back, the banana and chocolate together create a lovely gooey texture and the walnuts add a little bit of crunch that is needed. It doesn't look as appetising as your usual pinterest recipe (trust it not to rise when it's being blogged about) but I promise you it's delicious and even got the seal of approval from my Mama who categorically hates everything with banana in and normally refuses to try it, she actually went back for more this time! I'm also just guessing with the measurements as I tend to guess and hope for the best so if you like your precise recipes, look away now because my measurements will make you twitchy.

You will need:

100g Flour, I used Wholemeal but any kind is fine
100g Brown sugar
100g Butter - Preferably unsalted
2 large overripe mashed banana's - They have to be overripe or it just doesn't work
1 Egg
1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence
A handful of chopped walnuts
A handful of dark chocolate chips

A pinch of the following:
Baking Powder

You will also need a loaf tin, a large mixing bowl, scales, Knives and a chopping board, a fork to mash those bananas, a mixer if you have one and a large wooden spoon,

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees,
2. Grease your loaf tin thoroughly , I like to pop a little bit of butter on a piece of greaseproof paper and do it that way so it doesn't get all over my hands.
3. Cream the butter and sugar together in the mixing bowl. When this is done add in the egg and whisk until it is fully mixed in. (this is the part when I casually crack an egg with one hand and feel professional for a little while, I'm not lying, it is yet another of my useless talents.)
4. Add the mashed bananas and vanilla extract and mix. (It will look a little disgusting at this point) 
5. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add a little to your mixture and mix. Repeat this step until it is all mixed in.
6. Add the walnuts and Chocolate chips.
7, Mix with your wooden spoon. (if you use the mixer it sometimes cuts the walnuts down too much and we don't want that.)
8. Pop into the oven for about an hour, check on it from about 40 minutes on wards as sometimes it can take less time. You can also check it by sticking a knife or a cocktail stick into it to see if it comes out clean. Be careful of sticking it into a chocolate chip as they will be gooey and melty but you won't be able to tell if it is done or not. If you have used wholemeal flour/Brown sugar it's normally as dark as mine but if you have used plain flour/white sugar it will be a lot lighter. Also this recipe tends to rise a little (but not today) but it won't rise too much so it's best to use a small loaf tin.
9. Take it out of the oven and leave to cool. When it's done pop it out of the tin and enjoy. I find it's best with a nice cup of tea. I didn't get a good picture when it came out of the oven as I got overexcited and we ate half of it before I remembered to take a picture, Bad blogger I know. I make this recipe all year round but it's particularly great in the Autumn when it's cold and gloomy outside and you can cosy up inside in front of the fire.

What's your favourite recipe for Banana Loaf? Let me know if you try this one.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Sunday Series - My Bookshelf

I've always loved reading ever since I was a small child, my mum taught me to read before I started school and after that no one could stop me, I went through a phase whilst I was at school of reading every book I could find and ended up with hundreds which had to go in the end as they were all over my room. Nowadays I'm too busy to read as much as I used to and the kinds of books I read depend on the type of week I've had but I've been making an effort over the past few weeks as I want to have read all of the books I own by the time I move away as I'm not taking them with me. I've been meaning to write this post for a while and Jennie's post yesterday was just the kick I needed to get it done so here are the books I've read and re read over the past few weeks.

The first is Extremely Loud and Incredibly close by Jonathan Safran Foer and I will admit I haven't finished this one yet. From all the reviews I read and from the comments people who recommended this book to me made I expected to not be able to put this down, however that's not the case as I've been attempting to read this for the past six months. It's not that it's a bad read, I just keep getting distracted and it hasn't captured my imagination just yet. The story revolves Oskar who is nine years old and is on a quest to find which one of New York City's locks a key he found after his father passed away. I've been told it's very moving and that by the end of the book I'll be thoroughly invested in little Oskar and his quest and even though I'm only four chapters in and despite how long it's taken me to read it, I am enjoying it and one day I will find out which lock it opens.

The next is Lucy In the Sky by Paige Toon and I think I've probably read this more than enough times but I always come back to it. I find that a lot of the time I want to read a book that makes me think or that's slightly complicated and I don't know which characters I like by the end of it but sometimes I like to read something I don't have to think about, where I know who I like by the end of the first page and I still like them by the end of the story. This is the latter kind and will probably always be my favourite book by Paige, I've read them all but this is the one that I always come back to and don't start getting annoyed with the heroine half way through. It all about Lucy who leaves her cheating husband back in gloomy England to go back to her native sunny Australia, her best friends and of course a hot younger man who just so happens to be her best friends brother (and a surfer who lives in wetsuits...) It's a no brainer, you know how it's going to end from just that one sentence but lets be honest, faced with that choice we all know who we'd pick.

Thirdly is the Hunger games trilogy, I say that like I've read all three but no I've just started this one. I chose to read it as I watched the film and still had no real clue what was happening (probably because I spent most of it poking Jon in the face to distract him rather than watching it, I'm fun to watch movies with.) After reading this I'm pretty excited to start reading the second one and even watch the second film but does anyone else find the casting slightly strange for some characters, definitely not how I imagined them to look. The story centre's around Katniss Everdeen, a competitor in the 74th Hunger Games, a televised competition where teenagers fight each other to the death to bring fortune to their district. I know this book is supposed to be for a younger audience than me but with everyone killing each other left right and centre I definitely feel this isn't a book for children or even younger teenagers.

The last book is another re read in the form of You before Me by Jojo Moyes, which is the story of Lou Clark a tea shop waitress who becomes the Carer of Will who became a Paraplegic in a motorcycle accident. I don't know why I put myself through reading it again as even though the cover is your typical chick lit illustration it's just that, a cover. This is a true heartbreaker, the kind of book that once you get to the end of it you feel like you need to tell someone how much you love them, just in case. I always say I won't read it again but I will because it is as lovely as it is sad and it's a book that makes you think more than a lot of thiller's with all their twists and turns manage to do.

Do you have any recommendations for me to read? 

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Palmers Purifying Mask - The Review

Clearing up my skin has been something I've been battling with for about the last ten years or so and I've mainly got it under control but for the past few months my skin has been having a little meltdown, I think it's mainly due to me being overly stressy about all of the things that are changing soon and worrying about every little thing and stress tends to show up on my skin very easily . So I needed something to calm it down a little and after seeing a few posts about this, I decided to try it out for myself.

This is a thick, white mask that has a light floral scent which they say is White Lily, I have no idea if it really does smell like lilies but it does smell nice and I'm don't hate every moment that I have it on my face the way I do with a lot of clay masks that don't have the most pleasant scents. It is a 'Green Clay' mask and as I have combination/Oily skin I find that clay masks tend to be the way to go for me but as I also have sensitive skin I do find that a lot of them can be too harsh and cause a reaction. Luckily that didn't happen with this product and my face was left feeling clean and fresh after I had washed it off. I also didn't experience any redness which can happen if I use something that is too harsh for my skin.

It also states on the back of the product that it has four beneficial ingredients: Cocoa and Shea Butters to deeply moisturise and nourish, Vitamin E - A powerful antioxidant, Kaolin (Clay) which gently dries to detox and purify and Sweet Almond Oil which is a lightweight skin emollient. I think the moisturising properties of some of these ingredients could be why this doesn't dry out my skin too much which is generally what causes the redness and irritation.

I've been using this three times a week for the past month and I've noticed a real difference in my skin, It hasn't cleared up my skin completely as my spots are stress/hormone related and there is no topical product in the world that can stop those from happening but it has done a lot to calm my skin down and speed up the healing process. I've noticed that my skin is less irritated after using this and the next day the blemishes are much less painful and the angry redness surrounding them has gone completely. It can sometimes bring out blemishes faster than they would come up on their own but I find that all clay masks do this and it means that they are gotten rid of faster than they normally would be.

I don't know yet if I like it more than my Origins out of trouble mask which is the product that I normally reach for but with the Origins Mask being £22.00/100ml, this product being £5.99/120ml and me having rent to pay, this is definitely the better option for me. I do think this is a really lovely product and once this tube is finished I will be buying it again.

Have you tried any of the Palmers Skincare range, what do you think?

Palmers Purifying mask retails for £5.99 and is available from Boots, Superdrug and other stockists. 
(I bought mine from Asda)

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Charles Worthington Longer and Stronger Hair Masque - The Review

I've made no secret of my quest to have long hair again, after going from black to blonde I ended up having to have my hair cut into a bit of a bob and I hated it. Don't get me wrong it was a lovely cut and on another it could have looked amazing but for me long hair is the one. After running out of my usual hair growth gimmick/product (The Lee Stafford mask if you were wondering) I decided to try something new, Step forward the Charles Worthington Strength and Repair Longer and Stronger Hair Masque...well that's a mouthful but let's talk about the actual product rather than the silly long name.

Firstly the packaging is nice, the purple is quite an eye catching colour and the directions and ingredients are easy enough to read, so far so standard. Obviously there's only so much you can do to a tub of conditioner to make it different but one thing I really like about this is that it has a flippy lid and it's the first of it's kind that I've seen. It's not really very exciting but it is practical, I think we've all been there trying to open a screw top lid with wet hands and then suddenly it's flinging all the way across the bathroom or hitting you in the face (just me on the latter?) This lid makes life easier and who doesn't need things that make life easier when showering at 7am.

The masque itself is quite thick, which is a positive for me as I really don't like thin masques as I feel they just get washed down the drain and don't last long enough. The smell is nice but quite strong, it has a floral scent and actually reminds me of being in a salon which as it is a 'salon at home' product is expected. Although it is thick it doesn't weigh down my hair and leaves it feeling soft and smooth rather than overloaded with product which is something I have had an issue with in the past as I have fine hair. I've also noticed that after I use this my hair isn't as frizzy or coarse and looks like it is in much better condition than before. 

The product claims that it is 'scientifically proven to reduce hair breakage by up to 92%' which is a pretty big claim and I do agree to some extent. Since I've been using this twice a week I have noticed that my hair has been snapping off less however I've also been taking other steps to make sure my hair grows such as not using any heat and taking supplements so I can't say how much is down to this masque alone. I also don't really know if this is making my hair grow faster or whether that is down to a number of different factors but I will continue to buy this even if it doesn't as it is a really lovely product and for £5.99 you can't really go wrong.

This product retails for £5.99 and is available from Boots and other stockists.
Have you tried this masque, What do you think of it? Please let me know if you have any other product recommendations for growing your hair as I'm always looking for new things to try.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

August Wishlist

You wouldn't think that it's supposed to be summer with all the black that's on my wishlist but I have to say that now the sun is gone I'm kind of just waiting for autumn, is anyone else with me on this? Cold weather aside there's just something about autumn that makes me so happy and I do have a lot of love for all the layering I get to do in the colder months as well as all the dark, rich colours,  A/W fashion is just so much kinder to me and my pale self.

One thing that I really want to get my hands on this season is a leather look skirt, This one by River Island is perfect as I find pencil skirts are the best fit for me and I'm also loving that it doesn't have an extortionate pricetag. Alongside their great clothes River Island also do lovely accessories and I just couldn't resist putting these little pug socks on here. Everyone needs socks to keep their feet warm, why not have ones with cute little pugs on?
I'm still in love with statement necklaces, I feel like they really add something to an outfit without going too far. This one from Zara is gorgeous and I love the muted colours but they also have some lovely faux jeweled numbers that I'm thinking would be great for the party season.
My next item is something that I will probably never buy but I've just fallen for it. I find jumpsuits and playsuits really difficult to wear as I have a long torso and they just never fit me but If they did then I would buy this lovely lace sleeved version from Warehouse, no idea where I would wear but I'm sure I would find somewhere. I also really like their painted floral print scarf, I have a small scarf collection (by that I mean I have a problem and shouldn't buy any more) but I feel like this would fit in perfectly.
I've been wearing Coco Madamoiselle religiously since I was thirteen and even though I've flirted with other scents, I've always had a bottle of this on the go. However I'm nearly out so I will be needing a new bottle to keep me going. I have dropped a few hints to Jon that this is what I would like for our anniversary but I don't know if they were too subtle and he hasn't got them. If not I will appreciate the present he picked out by himself which to be fair he normally picks out awesome things for me and I'll buy my own, because I don't need a man to buy my Chanel for me (but let's be honest It would be nice, that stuff's pricey!)
Lastly now that the great black handbag search of 2013 is over I've began a new search for the perfect pair of black pointed heels. Obviously the perfect pair would have a red sole but I need time to save up for those, until then I think this pair from Asos is a contender. I love the faux suede and the heel height is just right.

What's on your Wishlist this month?

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Nars Blush in 'Amour'

After months of seeing Nars blush's everywhere I finally caved, This is actually a repurchase as I bought this a few years ago and I think I was 16. This was back when I first started watching beauty videos and reading blogs and after seeing everyone rave about all of the different colours, I saved up and bought myself this one, used it a few times and promptly dropped it on the floor one morning. Of course it smashed and I was left with £20 less than I started with and nothing to show for it. It's not going to happen this time, I'm determined to be careful and to eventually to hit the pan on this.

Amore is described as a Peachy Pink on the Nars site and I think that's a pretty apt description. In the pan it looks like a dark pink and it doesn't really look like anything special but once it's on the skin it's gorgeous. It gives a lovely pink flush but you can also see the peach undertones which makes it look a little more natural. As with all Nars blushes it is very pigmented and even though it's completely matte it doesn't look flat at all when I'm wearing it.

I'm glad I made this repurchase as I love it just as much as I did the first time. It was a bit of a difficult decision as it's a lot of money for a blush but I feel like it's a great product and therefore worth the money. I have my eye on a few more colours but I think it'll be a while before I buy anymore and until then I am very happy with this one.

Have you tried the Nars Blush? What's your favourite shade?